First the race story, my wife and I made our way up to Temperance River State Park. We were camping there versus staying in a nice warm inn as we (I) thought it would be fun. We love to camp and haven't had a chance as our daughters do not love to camp anymore which makes it a little more problematic to find the time. We got set-up fairly quickly, drove up to the Caribou Lodge to pick up my packet. I would like to say I was confident going into this race but I was not.
To show you where my thoughts were, here is an email from August 22nd that I never sent:
Larry, I am signed up for the 50 and working through a couple of issues - lack of training and a couple of nagging injuries and was wondering if I can drop down to the marathon? I haven't made up my mind to do so but just wanted to find out if it is an option.
The nagging injuries were my back was sore again and a foot issue. I had gotten the back healthy but between ramping up my mileage and stopping the exercises it had regressed. I decided to go for it despite the poor training and the injuries, why you may ask? Well the main reason is ....... heck, I don't know, I think I just didn't want to believe I couldn't pull it off. I normally can rally a bit and I only needed to maintain something like 16 to 17 minute miles and how hard could that be, right? And what if I had backed off to the marathon and had an easy time? That thought is very humorous now that I have seen the trail. Easy on that trail, is never going to happen, at least for me.
Anyway, it rained unbelievably hard during the night but we stayed mostly dry in the tent. I remember waking up at 2:30 AM, thinking about those poor folks running the 100 and I thought to myself that I sure hoped the rain would end soon. Up at 4, still raining but not as hard as earlier, got dressed, ate some yogurt, had a cup of coffee, made sure Karyn was awake, we left around 5 for the start line. Problem was, I had failed to pay attention to where it was and didn't really take into account darkness along with a fog/mist that greatly limited visibility. We ended up finding the start line but had a few tense moments. I packed up my final things and before I knew it we were off.
My plan was to run with Wayne for a while and then send him on his way. I figured I would be very close to the cut-offs and I knew he would be faster than I was and I wanted him to make it. About 3 or so miles into the race I rolled my right ankle pretty good. I kept going, figuring it would be ok, it mostly was but it did bother me more than I would have liked. I kept the pace slow but manageable, trying to take what the course was giving me. Wayne and I ran together for the first 7.7 miles but separated during the 2nd section, I had taken my jacket off at the first aid station and had some issues getting it into my pack and the pack back on. It took a mile or so but I eventually caught up to Wayne but soon ended up slowing down some and we separated but for the most part I kept things going ok and if I remember I was a minute or so behind him at the next aid station. At the 2nd aid station, I saw Karyn and was a bit cranky as I knew I was in trouble, my back was hurting, then ankle was tender and I was starting to get some blisters. I had also had left calf cramping up, all in all I was falling apart. I took the time to switch shoes, expecting that they would help get better traction in the mud and not aggravate the blisters. I have to admit that I was kind of soaking in the trail, I was loving it, even though it was wet, very very wet and very muddy in places. From that point on my day trickled downhill. I could give you more of my adventure as I watched the hills, roots, rocks and mud take their toll but I think my pictures will give you an idea (they are not very good quality as they were taken from my cell phone and I was a bit shaky at times but hopefully you will get an idea)
I can't remember which river this was, I took it from the bridge that crossed it.
Yes this was part of the trail, I took this picture after I came down this section and looked back up at it. It was after the 2nd aid station, I think.
So my day was cut short from what I expected but my body was failing so I wasn't too disappointed. I loved every minute on this trail and will look forward to returning for another race. I now have a feel for it and will know that my training will be need to step up 2 or 3 levels if I am ever going to succeed on this trail.
What an unbelievably great trail and my thanks to Larry and all of the volunteers for hosting a first class event. Congrats to Wayne, Rick, Jim and all of the other 50 and 100 mile finishers, I am in awe of you.